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Cyber Idiocy: The Idiots Preview GameRanger
November 16th

Gary: Hey, man, I think I like you a lot more now that there is about two-thousand miles between us.

Randy: That's still not to far for me to kick your sorry butt!

Gary: Wanna back that up, oh, lame one?

Randy: You bet. Let's each get a copy of Scott Kevill's GameRanger, and check that out. It's free and it claims to be the best way for Macintosh gamers to find other gamers on the Internet for all night frag sessions.

Gary: All night frag sessions? You mean?

Randy: That is not what frag means, moron!

Gary: GameRanger is pretty neat, I must admit. It lets you see any servers that have been set up on the Internet for any one of over 20 networkable Mac games, and lets you join if you want. It has a chat section where you can meet up with friends and make new ones too.

Randy: I thought the neatest thing was the voice chat function. As long as you have a microphone attached to your Mac, you can talk to another person on GameRanger without all of the pesky long distance charges applying. You just hold down a key while you talk.

Gary: There was very little lag time and the quality was surprisingly good. And that was over 56k modems. Unfortunately, though, you can not chat while in gameplay.

Randy: But if you are playing Unreal, Unreal Tournament or Klingon Honor Guard you can sneak out to GameRanger by going into the Options screens while in gameplay and choosing Advanced Options. This puts the game in the background and allows you to return to GameRanger for some voice chat.

Gary: Once your voice session is done you can just hit the Escape Key a few times and you are right back in the game where you left off. While this is a bit of a pain, it beats typing, and Mr. Kevill has mentioned that in the future releases of GameRanger, in-game voice chat is an anticipated feature.

Randy: GameRanger also launches any game that you have whenever you enter a server game. Pretty cool. It uses a plug-in architecture to easily allow new games to be added to GameRanger's capabilities. Currently there are plugins for 23 Mac titles and more are on the way.

Gary: Of course, when we tried it, GameRanger pointed out that we needed a newer version of Unreal for the GameRanger Unreal plug-in required to launch Unreal. Typical. So we had to manually set up a server in Unreal in order to play via the Internet.

Randy: I cannot stress this enough to someone who has not played a networkable game in multiplayer mode. It is fun beyond your wildest dreams. While solo play in Unreal is quite entertaining, when was the last time you laughed aloud while playing?

Gary: I can't agree more. There is something amazing about ambushing another player and blowing his or her head clean off that makes playing against bots seem utterly boring by comparison.

Randy: While this is not the first time Gary and I have networked gamed, it is one of the first times we have used Internet networked gaming. Gary and I have always had the luxury of an Ethernet network to game with. I have to admit that knowing the person you are dismembering is thousands of miles away does add to the fun.

Gary: GameRanger's interface is a simple one window approach with two tabs to choose from.

Randy: One tab is for the chat functions. You can choose from all kinds of rooms to chat in. Each room is dedicated to a specific type of game, like action/adventure or sports. And then each group has subgroups that are specific to a certain game title.

Gary: Here you can discuss tips for better kills with other gamers, put together a group to play against each other or, as Gary and I did, just insult each other's family members with childish remarks.

Randy: The other tab in GameRanger's interface is for finding servers. Here you can browse the huge list of servers that are currently hosting games or you can add yourself as a server to host your own game. Each game that is shown in the servers list is further divided into sub-games of that game. For instance, in Unreal there are games for capture the flag, king of the hill, cooperative play games and deathmatch games. Once you find the game you want to join you can also use this area in GameRanger to join in the action.

Gary: All in all, GameRanger is a must have utility for any gamer who is looking to join the wide world of network gaming. Especially when you consider it's free!

Randy: And also considering it's not even at version 1.0 yet. After the newest update of beta 12, Scott Kevill claims GameRanger is going to be out of beta by the next release. You go, Scott!

Gary: But all of Scott's hard work comes at a price. Or it may come at a price. Currently GameRanger is freeware, but Mr. Kevill has always said that it may go shareware to cover his cost. Personally, I can't believe he hasn't charged for this killer game utility yet. It's worth its weight in gold.

Randy: So if you folks out there haven't checked out GameRanger yet, go on over to and download a copy now. Even if you don't see the latest version posted on the GameRanger site, go ahead and grab it. It's only a 140k download and when you launch GameRanger it will auto-update itself to the newest version.

Gary: To the awsome Mr. Scott Kevill, we thank you with a two kazoo salute of Metallica's Hero of the Day.

Randy: Oh but, Scott, I have a request first. I've got a cold twelver of Molson Ice for you if you can get a plugin for SCI's Carmageddon II and TRI's Terminal Velocity working.

Gary: And I'll give you my sister if you can make the voice chat work while in gameplay.

Randy: Dude, that's pretty cold!

Gary: You're right, I shouldn't do that to my sister.

Randy: No, I talking about Scott. I've met your sister, and she's insane!

Gary: True enough. Okay, Scott I promise never to sic my sister on you if you make the voice chat work in-game.

Randy: (Scott. take it from me. Just give him what he wants. It's your only hope for safety.)

Gary: How's that again, Randy?

Randy: I, huh, er...I said uh, "No more taunts, let's play Quake III."

Gary: All right, "Randamage". Prepare for immediate removal of your noggin.

Randy: Okay, "Garnage". After you.

The Idiots: GameRangers, mount up and ride!

Gary Randazzo and Randy Soare are the co-founders of IWS Interactive, a New York based game developer for Macintosh. The IWS in IWS Interactive stands for Idiots With Sticks. How that came about is a long and boring story, but suffice it to say that at four in the morning, it seemed like a good idea.

The demo for IWS Interactive's upcoming mystery-adventure game, Manhattan Apartment Hunter, has recently been released to rave reviews. The Idiots have been into gaming on Apple computers even before the Mac was around. Does anyone remember Choplifter on the Apple IIe? (Boy, we know we do.) Now, they are committed to help ensure that the Mac remains the premiere gaming platform on the planet.

You can email your comment and suggestions to Randy at , and Gary at .

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